By Patricia Moreaux
21st Dental Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the Peterson Dental Clinic is doing their part to promote healthy smiles. Throughout the month, members of the dental squadron will be visiting area schools and the child development centers to educate our communities’ children on proper oral habits.
While oral health in children has improved significantly over the years, tooth decay still remains one of the most common childhood diseases. Fortunately, dental decay is a preventable disease. One of the most important roles of dental professionals is to help prevent decay through education and encouragement of good oral hygiene practices. The American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month so dental professionals can reach out to the children of the community. Although this is a rewarding experience for the dental clinic staff, it is good hygiene that ultimately impacts dental decay.
Here are a few tips parents can use to help their children maintain clean teeth and a healthy smile:
- Gently clean your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad.
- Do not allow your infant to go to sleep nursing from a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
- Help your child brush and floss until they are old enough to do an effective job. The American Dental Association recommends children younger than seven years receive help from an adult. Children should use no more than a pea sized amount of toothpaste.
- Schedule regular dental checkups, beginning within six months after the first baby tooth appears or the child’s first birthday.
- Ask your dentist about placing sealants on your child’s permanent molars.
- Restrict the amount of candy, soda, and other sugars that your child consumes.
- Many areas of Colorado Springs do not have an adequate amount of fluoride in the water supply and bottled water may not contain any. Talk with your pediatrician to decide whether fluoride supplements are recommended. You may also want to contact Colorado Springs Utilities to find out if there is an ample amount of fluoride in the water where you live.
- If your child plays sports, make sure he or she always wears a mouth guard.
For more information on how you can help your children maintain their beautiful smiles, call the Peterson Dental Clinic at 556-1333.